"Frosty arrived later that evening as well, sometime into the second bottle of red and we had port and whiskeys to follow for desert"
Right a massive update is going to happen here. I have to fill in from Moscow to Munich. Right where to start. After sliding down the road a few days previous due to a freak of nature we landed into Moscow. We made contact with the BMW motorrad dealer in order to get the bikes serviced. They needed new chains and sprocket, filters, oil change and generally a bit of love. We got a taxi into the hostel that afternoon and would collect the bikes the next day and head towards Lithuania. When things got tough on this trip I had promised to shout dinner in Moscow, fine dining, wine the whole nine yards. It had been 6 or 7 weeks of shitty food and general misery. I think the only thing that got me through that swamp we got bogged in Mongolia was the night out in Moscow. It’s funny the things that keep ya going during hard times. I imagined this as an Ice cold in Alex moment. Just as he drinks the beer in one go and says” Worth waiting for.” It’s an old war movie, well worth a watch.( Patrick is shouting the Indian in London, can’t wait for that.)
I quickly started to Google a steakhouse and found the Chicago 21 steakhouse with lots of good reviews. We tidied ourselves up as best we could and off for a serious feed. We explained to the manager as why we looked a bit scruffy and he understood. The steaks were 35 day dry aged 300g rib eyes. My god they did not disappoint. We also selected a fine bottle of California red to complement the festivities. A meal has never tasted so good in all my life. Frosty arrived later that evening as well, sometime into the second bottle of red and we had port and whiskeys to follow for desert. Fantastic Norbert, just fantastic!! Those who were at the wedding will understand the reference to frosty. It was nice for him to make an appearance on the trip. I heard he may be in London next week and then back in Dublin and Cavan for a while.
Anyway enough of that shite. We left the next day with sore heads, heading toward Lithuania. We had 2 days to arrive over to James Clarke on the Saturday. James is old friend of mine from Cavan. He had a Sauna party planned, with a good gang of Lt boys. We made it close to the boarder of Russia and stayed in a truck stop before crossing into Latvia. The roads were average and the café a far cry from the fine dining the night before. The border crossing was easy enough apart from the massive queue of trucks or lorry’s as we say in Ireland waiting at the border. The bikes are great for queues as you just fly up the outside and job done. Latvia was a lovely country with good roads. We were just passing through on our way to Klaipeda. We arrived into Lithuania that evening, spoke to James and planned to meet him at the business park where he works on Saturday lunch time. It was an easy spin on Saturday morning with 200 Km left to Klaipeda. We spotted a black jeep on the right hand side with the flashers on, as we passed, it started to chase us down the road. I said, right I hope this is James or we are in trouble with the locals already. He had organized a place to store the bikes. I don’t think he was prepared for the physical state we were in, nearly making us strip down before he let us in the jeep on account we looked like to hobo’s. Within an hour the washing machine was going, clothes borrowed, and then out for some pasta chicken and a tour of the town. It was a lovely feeling to see Jack, the first familiar face in a long time. Marina, James wife arrived with the kids and we got to meet the family. Daniel and Anna are lovely children. Daniel is more likely to tell ya that “you’re talking rubbish!!! Funny kid.
We headed off to the pub at six and meet up with all of James’s mates, had a few beers and off to the sauna. The Sauna is a very social thing in Lithuania and Russia always involving beers, Vodka, food, beating one another with sticks and general male bonding. There was a river next to the sauna and after the beating you take the zip line into the river to cool off. A sing song started later with the Irish boys giving it full tilt. We were quickly put in our place by the surprise tenor from Sweden in attendance. It was like seeing Susan Boyle for the first time. Were the hell did that come from. After all that it was off to a club for more beers. My memory gets a bit hazy after we had flaming Aston martins. Great night overall. The boys came up trumps with a donation of 500 Euro’s for the charities. We really appreciate that lads and thanks a million James for organizing the whole thing. We stayed in Klaipeda for a few days admiring the scenery and headed off on Tuesday morning toward Poland.
We took two days to get to Krakow and had planned to stay here for two nights. I have always wanted to visit the Auschwitz- Birkenau camps from WWII. Krakow is a beautiful city, so much to see and do. Patrick had been to Auschwitz and was not keen to go again, at the time I was unsure for his reasons but after being there I totally understand. It is a hard trip to take. Very emotional and harrowing that this took place only 60 years ago. Everyone on the planet should go and see this first hand. I would highly recommend it. We visited the salt mines outside Krakow as well, one of the largest in the world. No longer operational though. There was always a running joke in Homemakers that you would be sent to the salt mines for insubordination. Probably me most of the time!!!
After Krakow we headed for Vienna and spent one night there, another beautiful place. After that we headed for Zell am See over toward the Alps. The drive over was spectacular. Lovely twisty roads through the Alps. The weather was fantastic apart from one massive shower that nearly washed us away. My god the rain was so heavy it was down to 20mph and visibility was zero. With all the holes in my riding gear the rain runs into the top of the pants and then down into your boots. Just lovely stuff I can tell ya. We camped that night along the lake. Austria is just as nice in summer as winter, an amazing place with lovely people. We headed for St Johan just 40km up the road. It was now raining and bloody cold. Snow was starting to fall on the mountains and we hoped winter was not arriving as we still have a bit to go. The lady in the guesthouse was used to bikers and put all out gear in the boiler room to dry, magic stuff.
Oh I I nearly forgot. In Zell am See we met an Irish lady Margaret, who runs a ski Chalet, Haus Ashling. We were standing outside a bakery having a coffee, chatting away. This lady stops and says “oh my god your Irish”, we are, we replied. The rest you can figure out. The reason for all this is, she gave us a very generous donation to the charity, totally unexpected. One good turn deserves another, anyone going skiing this year check out http://www.aislinghouse-austria.com/ Lovely place in the Austrian hills, ski in and out. Thanks again Margaret, really appreciate it.
Right back to business so we have pushed on to Munich and arrived too early for the beer festival. Totally gutted, a real school boy error in the planning phase. It starts next week. So we are staying until it starts and for the foreseeable future. I wish. Patrick has gone to fish out a beer tent that is open and having a party tonight. When in Rome and all that Jazz it would be bad manners not to sample the many fine ale’s they have to offer. I am very excited. Next stop London on the 17th see ya then.
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